Questions tagged [astronomy]

For questions related to planets, moons, stars and other celestial objects, and their motion on the sky.

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9 votes
2 answers
750 views

Are islands flying in space possible?

There is a system of one star and something like an asteroid belt around it. But the distance between asteroids is much less than usual, with some perhaps within nine kilometers of each other, and ...
18 votes
6 answers
4k views

Could a society exist within a brown dwarf?

Brown dwarf stars are cool. Both literally and figuratively; the temperature profile for cool brown dwarves runs somewhere between 225K and 600K. It's possible if not probable that there exist some ...
17 votes
5 answers
3k views

Biological Spaceships - Possible?

My source of inspiration and imagination... StarGate Atlantis Tv-Series: Wraith hive-ships were mainly biological. Genesis Rising Pc-game: The game itself, storyline, human technology, etc based ...
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16 votes
2 answers
2k views

How can my accidental time travelers determine the year using star/stars?

Time travel on movies and tv always say they were able to tell the year by looking at the stars. But how? For example Voyager goes back in 1996 and Ensign Kim says astrometrics puts them in the year ...
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5 votes
2 answers
772 views

Will the physics work for a dual star system such that the "life" planet will have 0, 1 and both stars in the sky periodically? [duplicate]

I am working on building a civilization that has a ingrained superstition about two body systems. My desire is to build a myth system that revolves around empty or 0 is bad, 1 is ideal, and 2 is ...
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2 votes
1 answer
966 views

What does it mean for something to be 'knocked out of its orbit'?

The idea of knocking a satellite out of its orbit is common in fiction, but what does it actually mean.
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1 vote
1 answer
628 views

How could you build a universe [closed]

EDIT : I made significant changes to the question which is by its nature open. Dark energy and its repulsive energy that expanded space at its origin was decisive in creating the playground for the ...
  • 534
40 votes
3 answers
10k views

Habitable moon of a gas giant: working out the sizes and distances

I am attempting to create fictional, stable P-Type binary system, featuring a gas giant in a stable orbit, with a habitable Earth-like moon. “Is a Jupiter-sized planet plausible in a habitable zone?” ...
21 votes
3 answers
2k views

What technologies and sciences are needed to detect a star going supernova?

What technology (at minimum), devices or minimum civilization development is needed, so that an individual member of this civilization would be able to detect that some star is going supernova? My ...
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6 votes
3 answers
165 views

A villain with a system (located on ground) that has created a catalog of earth orbit satellites

I wanted to ask about the system described in the following scenario... A villain has built a system consisting of a telescope connected to a computer that runs some autonomous object recognition ...
  • 749
10 votes
5 answers
397 views

Eye in the Sky Effect

Is there any conceivable way that a planet with two moons--one being visibly red to the naked eye due to its mineral composition--could align in an eclipse in such a way so that the whole effect looks ...
  • 211
20 votes
8 answers
10k views

How could a smaller planet than Earth have a higher gravity?

I want to build a planet (or satellite) that: is smaller than Earth, has a thicker atmosphere than Earth but breathable, has neither intense volcanism, nor any extreme condition of that sort that ...
  • 688
9 votes
7 answers
827 views

Is a "sun belt" realistic?

In a few science-fiction books I've read, the world that the story takes place on doesn't have a sun, but does have a "sun belt," where (instead of a regular sun) the world is lit by a stretch of sky ...
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13 votes
1 answer
2k views

What would a pair of Death Stars do to Earth?

Y'all should know by now that I want to build a Death Star ;-) Let's assume that we did that already -- and against the odds, we've built two of them, and they're currently in orbit around a planet; ...
  • 2,821
17 votes
4 answers
6k views

By what mechanism could a planet be locked into permanent solar eclipse?

I've got an image in my head of a world where it's just normal that the star is black with a golden halo around it - in other words, where the planet is in a state of perpetual solar eclipse. Are ...
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7 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is this shattered planet scenario possible?

Suppose there's a planet that has similar characteristics of Earth and can provide life, suddenly shatters in many pieces and scattered over the system. A small but very dense object is attached into ...
  • 73
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Predicting lunar eclipses with multiple moons

I realize that creating worlds with multiple moons and/or suns is risky, but I'm toying with an idea to see where it goes. So, a planet has 3 moons. One is large like ours, the second is about half ...
  • 211
8 votes
5 answers
1k views

Effects on the visual systems of humans when temporarily having several stars illuminating the living space

A modern day Earth nation is at war with another. That other nation is extremely advanced but they are also pacifists. Instead of killing peoples their gun rounds and shells have the effect of ...
  • 404
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Seasons on a planet that's tidally locked with the smaller star in a dual-star system

Consider a dual-star system, with the distances between S (larger star) and J (smaller star) similar to Sun–Jupiter. A planet P rotates around J on a 90-degree ecliptic and is Earth-like otherwise. ...
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14 votes
3 answers
452 views

Planet illuminated by blue-shifted relic radiation

Are there realistic circumstances that a planet would be accelerated (either artificially or naturally) to the speed at which relic radiation becomes so blue-shifted that the planet is illuminated so ...
  • 4,804
23 votes
4 answers
2k views

How would solar activity change if the Sun was impacted by a planet?

Suppose that a planet whose size was somewhere between the sizes of Mercury and Jupiter impacted the Sun. Would such an event change local stellar activity sufficiently enough and for long enough ...
  • 4,804
42 votes
14 answers
8k views

Can I keep our universe, but without the speed limit (of light)?

It seems like nothing can move faster than light and this is quite bothersome for interstellar travel. It takes decades in the best case to get anywhere interesting in our little Milkyway (Many ...
  • 5,545
29 votes
8 answers
4k views

Building the Death Star with today's tech

I found an interesting Wikipedia article, quoted in an answer here. I'm looking into writing a story where someone has built a Death Star. The purpose of this craft is important to the story (and the ...
  • 2,821
3 votes
1 answer
145 views

Probabilties of the Universe [closed]

Is it plausible that the only way to be at both ends of the Universe at the same time is to have a Mass/Space/energy equivalent of the Universe? In essence is it possible the universe is the only ...
  • 111
26 votes
7 answers
3k views

On a planet without seasons, how would people track years?

On a planet without axial tilt and with a roughly circular orbit, there would be no seasons. The climate on the planet would be, as far as I can tell, exactly the same at any time of year, and the ...
  • 3,478
36 votes
5 answers
6k views

Can a planet realistically have multiple suns?

Several science fiction books I have read (including, IINM, Nightfall by Asimov) have featured planets with several suns. Some worlds where this happened wrought interesting effects on the inhabitants ...
  • 2,821
10 votes
4 answers
2k views

Would living underground during an impact winter be ideal?

I was looking at these two questions: Expanding Occupied Underground Habitations Safely Does Living without access to Sunlight have known Physical/Psychological effects? And in a story I'm writing, ...
  • 1,295
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

What effect would three moons have on ocean/landscape formation?

I'm building an alien world for a game mod, and want to avoid any blatant mistakes from a world-building perspective. The world has three moons visible in the night sky - two on one side near each ...
  • 443
66 votes
12 answers
16k views

Could a disaster kill all (human) life on Earth but leave astronauts in low orbit alive long enough to return?

There are plenty of threats out there that could terminate all life on our little planet in varying amounts of time (Solar flares, meteors and supernovas to name a few). Are there any disasters that ...
  • 5,545
51 votes
2 answers
6k views

What would the sky look like from the surface of a planet with rings?

What would a planet's rings look like from the surface of that planet? Would the rings be perceived to be stationary or move across the sky, and would the alignment of the rings relative to the axis ...
  • 727
27 votes
7 answers
7k views

Could life form in outer space?

All life we know of to date (presumably) formed on a rocky planet (more precisely: earth). Fiction has been written about life in more exotic locations. Though as far as I know, these lifeforms were ...
  • 5,545
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Where would an asteroid have to hit earth to cause an impact winter?

I found this on Wikipedia. I'm aiming for the fastest climate change possible without that much advanced notice, e.g. perhaps a regional sized asteroid scientists miss or are too distracted to catch ...
  • 1,295
31 votes
4 answers
3k views

What software can prototype a planetary system?

Is there any software tool for quickly prototyping a planetary system? Ideally this should: Allow for placement of planets of different sizes and masses around a star. Allow for examination of the ...
  • 1,179
7 votes
2 answers
285 views

Cosmological consequences of a world with super-high refraction and atmosphere opaqueness

Disclaimer: the overall idea of the world as presented is basically lifted from Strugatsky Brothers "Inhabited Island". The details of the question are for a derivative work in that universe. Imagine ...
  • 4,632
19 votes
3 answers
34k views

What determines the length of a day on a planet?

The length of a day on different planets in the solar system varies a lot. For instance, Mars' day is about the same length as Earth, while a day on Venus is equivalent to 243 Earth days (source). ...
  • 687
18 votes
4 answers
2k views

How would two planets with identical but perpendicular orbits affect each other?

I'm exploring this idea for a fantasy world, and I was wondering how these planets would affect each other. The system would feature orbits in all three dimensions, not relatively flat like ours is. ...
  • 333
81 votes
21 answers
8k views

Is it physically possible for a planet to have seasons of different lengths?

Those of you who have read Game Of Thrones will know that in the GOT world seasons do not have a fixed duration, e.g., a winter might last three times longer than the previous one. I find most ...
  • 2,177
33 votes
4 answers
967 views

What Factors Could Cause a World to See "Northern" Lights Much Closer to the Equator?

I'm currently designing a world where the inhabitants see the Aurora Borealis on an almost nightly basis almost all the way to the equator. The lights are so strong they rarely see the stars beyond. ...
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